January 9, 2017
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
A Know-It-All is someone who thinks and acts like he or she knows all there is about a situation so they can make a judgement call concerning it. However, James deals with this very thing in James 4:10 through 12:
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. Do
not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother
and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if
you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is
one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge
Judging your fellow Christian is judging the law! What law are we talking about? James identifies it in James 2:8: “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well.” Since the epistle of James is generally considered to be the first writing of the New Testament, then the Scripture he is referring to has to be in the Old Testament! And we find this royal law in Leviticus 19:18 – an exact quote: “…you shall love your neighbor as yourself…” (see also Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 13:8-10). And to what degree should we be loving our neighbor? Jesus tells us in John 13:34 and 35: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” Our goal is to love one another as much as Jesus loves us! And what does such love do? Among other things, it says in I Peter 4:8, “…love will cover a multitude of sins.” (see also Proverbs 10:12).
Isn’t this what Jesus Christ has done for us? He so ‘covered’ our sins that they are gone through His sacrifice on the cross! (See Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 38:17; Micah 7:19; Colossians 2:13, 14). Our sins are removed from us to the extent that God says in Hebrews 8:12 and 10:17, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” He will never even call them to mind!
But back to speaking evil of a brother or a sister – as James says, when you engage in such judging, you are setting yourself up as a judge! And, as he tells us in verse 12, “There is [only] one Lawgiver…” and Judge – God Himself! Why is there just one? Think of a human courtroom where the judge sits to hear a case – sometimes without a jury. The lawyers present their set of facts and arguments. The judge has to sift through everything to glean what he or she feels are facts from falsehood. And then the judge makes a decision – but not until he or she feels all that is relevant to the case is in!
If you engage in judging (in speaking evil of someone) do you know all the facts? To be a judge like God, rendering true judgment all the time, you have to know all the facts! You have to know all there is to know – a Know-It-All! You have to be omnicient! And only God is omnicient! This is why James emphasizes, “ Do not speak evil of one another, brethren.” If you are criticizing and judging another Chrisitian brother or sister, you are setting yourself up as God! And this is the very sin that caused the fall of both Satan and our first parents! (See Isaiah 14:12-14; Genesis 3:5).
In my first church, in central Pennsylvania back in the early 70’s, there was a young woman who was a product of the hippie culture. She lived for wild parties, drugs, and free sex! But she traveled out west and fell in with a group of Jesus freaks, and got saved – I mean really saved! She came back into town still looking like a ‘hippie flower child’ – long hair, bare feet, torn jeans. And she lived in ‘the gas house’ on the edge of town, almost rent free – a shack that had no running water and an outhouse out back! But she had nurse’s training. She went back to the wild parties, but her purpose now was to tell her former hippie acquaintances about Jesus. She also rescued those who had overdosed on drugs! She would bring them back to her ‘shack,’ nurse them back to health, and share Christ with them! Sure, it was an unusual ministry, but it was effective!
A staid member of our church, a proper woman in her fifties, came to me one Sunday morning to tell me how terrible it was that this young girl was picking up men and bringing them back to live in sin with her! But, after explaining the unusual ministry this person was pursuing, she stopped her criticism and changed her mind! She just didn’t know all the facts! Now I did not agree with all this young nurse was doing, but she proved to be a Christian who loved Jesus, and was willing to have her reputation questioned because of her unique ministry!
James starts out our featured Scripture with this: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord….” Acknowledge that you are not a Know-It-All! Tell the Lord that only He is omniscient! Confess to Him that only He is qualified to be Lawgiver and Judge – not you! Yes, that will take some humility on your part, especially if you are in the habit of criticizing, judging, and speaking evil of others! But know that when you do humble yourself before God, “…He will lift you up.” For Jesus said, “…whoever exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11 – see also Proverbs 3:34; James 4:6).
Don’t Be A Know-It-All! “…humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God…[and] He will exalt you in due time.” (I Peter 5:6).